Category:612 Impact Attenuators

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Truck-Mounted Attenuator with a Flashing Arrow Panel

This article presents two primary types of impact attenuators: truck-mounted attenuators and freestanding impact attenuators (sand barrels). Impact attenuators are designed to absorb energy of an impacting vehicle and reduce the force on a passenger to an acceptable level.

612.1 Truck-Mounted Attenuators

Truck-mounted attenuators (TMA) are safety devices to be used for all mobile operations conducted near traffic. Damaged TMAs are to be removed from service and either repaired or replaced.

In addition to TMAs, warning signs, revolving lights and flashing arrow panels are commonly used with mobile operations.

612.2 Sand-Filled Impact Attenuators (Sand Barrels)

Sand Barrels

This system consists of a group of freestanding sand barrels. Each barrel is designed with a specific weight of sand to absorb the energy of an errant vehicle. Sand barrels are the preferred crash cushions for concrete traffic barrier, and are used when sufficient width is available for their placement. Refer to Standard Plan 612.20 for details. When specified, quantities are calculated and shown on the plans. No direct payment is made for the Type 1 object marker on the lead module. An estimate for replacement barrels needs to be included as a separate pay item, typically calculated as one for every ten barrels.

An approved sand-filled impact attenuator may be installed on the exposed end of the barrier where the posted speed prior to construction on an existing facility or the anticipated posted speed of a temporary facility is greater than 35 mph. A crash cushion will be required on the upstream end for divided facilities, and on both ends for all two-way facilities. (Crash cushions are discussed in 616.6, Lighting Devices. Applicable pay items are included in the plans.

Proprietary Crash Cushions are alternate crash cushions that may be used when sufficient width is not available for sand barrels. These are typically used on the ends of temporary two-lane, two-way sections on divided highways. More information on proprietary crash cushions is available at 617.1.4 Crash Cushion.

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